July 10, 2008

Aamir, a Notch Higher


Aamir Khan's a perfectionist. And unusual. And courageous too.

And he loves every single one of these epithets. In fact, the actor goes a step further and tells you that he has worked hard to build this reputation today. "But before everything else, I am instinctive. I listen to scripts of the film as an audience. My reactions to films are very emotional. I laugh, I cry, I feel bad.

And then, I only pick up stories that attract me. For instance, even when I do a socially relevant film like Rang De Basanti, I know it will be entertaining too. Taare Zameen Par is again not a project anyone will consider as popular cinema. The challenge is to take up issues that are not cut out for popular cinema and then turn them into popular cinema. Audience primarily wants high quality cinema and I know if I make good films, people will appreciate them."

But as the actor goes on to say, picking up the right script is only half the battle won. "The process is difficult, tiring and comes with its share of nervousness." Also, there is a lot of stress involved in choosing the right idea, then making it well and presenting it to a wider audience," he says.

So, that explains how he markets all his films differently and innovatively. "I take a personal interest in promoting a film. I strongly believe that people should not feel cheated when they come to watch your film. This means that the essence of the subject should emerge. Promotions should honestly tell the audience what they should expect from the film. For instance, TZP had no love angle and no lead actress and that is how it was marketed," Aamir explains.

Coming back to his favourite adjectives - courageous and perfectionist - how did he earn that reputation? "I guess over time I have been able to create a space for myself and also some goodwill. I think that as a result of the work I have done, people feel that the films I will pick up will be unusual. I am fortunate that I am successful too," he smiles.

But what he really likes is being called courageous. "It is a very positive thing. It takes a lot of courage to take up a subject like TZP, and then to get it done - to make it into a mainstream film. It needs a lot of perseverance, a lot of strength. There are lots of ups and downs, lot of bad days when one ends up wondering if one was right to take up that subject. But courage lies in keeping up the excitement and that level of commitment while making the film," Aamir adds.

But his latest release would not have taken courage; after all it is a teen romance? "Yes, you are right, it is a mainstream film with interesting characters but it required courage," he says, "These days there are so many films being made with newcomers. Do the audiences want to watch this film, which has new actors and a new director? That decision took courage."

Is it for this that he took a second audition of Imran? "Yes I did. He is very dear to me, yet I don't want him to be in a position that he doesn't deserve," replies Aamir.

Considering Imran's rising popularity amongst the female fans, is he sacred that his female fan following will receive a dent? "Not a chance!" he is quick to retort, and continues, "I am happy for the kind of acceptance he has got from the audience, and hope that he does even better than me in his career. But, now on he will have to create a relationship with the audience by being consistent with his performances," says the indulgent maamu.

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